Why I’m a Proud Scrunchy Mama


Why I'm a Proud Scrunchy Mama | There's the crunchy mom who's all about natural parenting. And there's the silky mom who prefers modern methods. But in between there's the scrunchy mom who takes the best of both worlds and applies it to parenting. That's me! Is it you too? Find out here and embrace your scrunchiness!Crunchy Moms Vs. Silky Moms: Who Wore it Better?

Before I begin, if you have no idea what a scrunchy mama is, don’t worry. Neither did I until a few days ago. But then I started to notice the hashtag #crunchymama popping up on my social media feeds. Crunchy mama? I clicked the hashtag and noticed a bunch of photos of moms breastfeeding or wearing their cloth-diapered babies and I began to assume it had something to do with natural parenting. I had to know for sure, so I Googled it.

Bingo! I learned that the definition of a “crunchy mom” is a mom who practices natural parenting or, as defined by one website, a “neo-hippie.” So basically if you are a crunchy mom, you typically give birth at home (or in a meadow or river or something), cloth-diaper your babes, prepare all your own organic baby foods, co-sleep, breastfeed exclusively (no bottles or formula), believe in baby-led weaning and are anti-vaccinations.

From my research, the term “crunchy” supposedly comes from the fact that these women are called “granola,” (slang for “hippie”) and granola is crunchy. I know, it’s pretty deep. You may need a moment to fully process that one.

So if “crunchy” is a term used to describe a natural mama, what about the other end of the spectrum? No worries, I Googled that too. According to many references on the web, the opposite of a “crunchy mom” is a “silky mom.” Why silky? I don’t actually know, but I would imagine that whoever coined these terms figured that silky was the opposite of crunchy. Mind. Blown.

A silky mom is a mom who gives birth in the sterile hospital environment, uses disposable diapers and may breastfeed but also bottle feeds and maybe formula feeds too. She buys baby food from the store, uses a stroller rather than a baby-wearing device, vaccinates her kiddos and banishes them to a crib where they may even be left to cry it out until they finally give up and fall asleep.

But what about the moms in the middle? Well, apparently they’re called “scrunchy moms.” I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself. It’s about as philosophical a term as the previous two, only less so.

 

My Scrunchy Confession…

Scrunchy moms cherry-pick elements of both crunchy and silky moms when choosing how to birth, care for and raise their children. They may give birth in a hospital, vaccinate and push their kids in a stroller but also breastfeed, use cloth diapers and co-sleep. Aha! That’s me! Much to my surprise, my style of “I don’t really have a plan, I’m just wingin’ it day-by-day” parenting actually has a name! My name is Anna and I am a scrunchy mom.

When I first discovered the hashtag that led me to this whole new world of mom-labelling I never knew existed, I noticed thousands of pictures and posts with the hashtag #crunchymama. Surely, I thought, there must be some #silkymama and #scrunchymama posts out there too. And indeed there are… Like, a whopping few dozen of them.

On some posts discussing the topic, I even saw self-proclaimed “silky” moms apologizing or otherwise expressing shame for being so! So what gives? Why the discrepancy? How come #crunchymamas are stealing the spotlight? Where my silky and my scrunchy mommas at?

 

The Era of Mom Shaming

“How others raise their kids is their concern, not yours…It is your job to advocate for your own children. Period.”

I quickly came to my own conclusion that silky moms and scrunchy moms definitely exist in larger numbers than it would appear if judging by hashtags alone. But they aren’t advertising it because they’re either not proud of it or they just don’t know such labels exist.

I think that this is because at this moment in history, the pendulum has swung very much in the direction of natural parenting. That’s great! I totally encourage mothers to give the natural parenting thing a try, so long as it works for them. See how I underlined that last bit? It’s because it’s really important.

So often I see mothers cutting each other down because they disagree on how to raise their children. That needs to stop right now. We are all doing the best we can and some days it is no small victory if all we do is keep our kids alive and celebrate that with a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Unless you are neglecting, abusing or otherwise intentionally harming your children, you should never feel guilty about the way you choose to raise your most precious crop. Likewise, how others raise their kids is their concern, not yours. You can dislike other people’s choices all you want but at the end of the day the only thing you really have control over is the choices you make yourself, so my advice is to focus on that.

Now, I know I may have touched a nerve with that last point, and you may be thinking “ya, but parents who don’t vaccinate put their own child and other children at risk,” or “ya, but circumcision/crying-it-out/co-sleeping/etc. is dangerous and unnecessary and babies can’t speak for themselves so it is my duty to speak for them!” No, it is not. It is your job to advocate for your own children. Period.

The last thing that is going to change the way others parent is berating or belittling them for it, so it’s wasted energy to do so. All that will happen is they will shut down and remain hidden instead of hashtagging about it.

There was a story recently on our local news about a new mother who disappeared shortly after giving birth. Her family was desperate in their search for her and worried about her mental health. Her husband said she may have been suffering from postpartum depression and that she was feeling guilty about the fact that, try as she might, she was unable to breastfeed her newborn.

After weeks of searching, her body was discovered. Her husband came forward to plead with the public to not feel guilty if they are unable to breastfeed and to not shame other mothers who are unable to. She left behind a newborn son.

 

It Takes a Village

When I say I am a proud scrunchy mama and you should be too, what I mean is that I have no shame about how I choose to raise my children and nor should you.

I have definitely, in times past, tried to avoid mentioning that I co-sleep with my daughter because I’ve been scared of the reaction I will get from those who think it’s wrong or dangerous. But only I, my husband and our daughter know what works best for us. I will no longer feel guilt about that, and my hope is that if you have felt that way before, that you know that you are doing a great job and should be nothing but proud.

As women, we are so used to ripping on each other right from a young age. We criticize and even bully each other about our looks, our promiscuity or our prudishness, who we date, what we eat, how we act, and on and on and on. Let’s not continue that trend into motherhood. Let’s be better than that. Let’s raise our daughters to be better than that, and let’s teach our children to raise each other up instead of cutting each other down.

It takes a village, as they say, so let’s be a village that welcomes each other in with open arms. Be a proud #crunchy, #scrunchy or #silky mama, but more importantly treat those who are different with kindness and respect. Remember, we’ve got little ones looking up to us. Let’s show them what’s really important; Let’s show them how to love one another. They won’t remember what kind of diapers they wore anyway.

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CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
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NATURAL LIVING

14 Comments

  1. Leah Rae

    Such a great post. I’m 20 weeks pregnant and I’ve already decided I don’t want to breastfeed. It gives me anxiety just thinking about it, but I’ve already had those negative thoughts like, “People are gonna think I’m a bad mom”, which isn’t true. My mom didn’t breastfeed me or my sister either and we both grew up healthy and happy. Thanks for spreading the love!

    Just for giggles: I told my fiancé I didn’t want to breastfeed and he said, “But won’t your boobs explode? How ya gonna get it out?” 😂

    Reply
  2. Tegan

    This is a perfect response to the whole crunchy mama vs silky mama drama. The only thing I will say is that the cry it out method is harmful and should be avoided. Other than that, parent as you wish, as long as it’s not hurting your child.

    Reply
  3. Shera

    Hi Anna, I’m Shera and I’m a scrunchy mom 😂 I had no idea what a crunchy mom was! I saw a comment in a Facebook group for mamas who had babies in the same month as me. I had to google it and your article was the first to pop up! I love being a scrunchy mom. Had no idea there was labels for the parenting styles. Scrunchy is that sweet balance needed for a happy baby and a sane momma. Great article!

    Reply
  4. Shuesler

    Thank you, Anna, for your insight on Crunchy/Silky mom’s/families.

    Wow!!!! I had no idea I was a “Scrunchy Mom”! I’m 57 and just found out (giggle).

    I just watched a random reel about “Family Cloth” (I had to look that one up, too) and was reading the comments trying to figure out what it was.

    So, off to the internet. Thank God I didn’t need to embarrass myself by having to ask someone…..another giggle.

    I didn’t circumcise, I breastfed my 5 boys on demand, we had a family bed (think it’s called co-sleeping), used cloth diapers and wash cloths for their bums, made their baby food (simply mashed up what we ate….they didn’t eat till they could actually sit up and grab for their own food), Colloidal silver , raw garlic and raw honey are my go-to’s for illnesses, as well as Helminth Therapy for myself. I eventually homeschooled all of my children.

    But, my first two births were cesareans and the last three normal but VERY difficult. I was planning for home births but I NEVER had a birth that was less than 2 days long😳 I also gave them a bottle when someone else watched them along with disposable diapers, and they were allowed to have a pacifier or whatever they needed, sugar was not avoided, and they were vaccinated (but I wish I’d have waited till they were older to do so). All my children also attended public school at some point. The first three started in public s cool and the last 3 went to public school for middle school. They were ALL allowed to choose. I also use normal medicine sometimes.

    All my decisions were made without knowing if there were others out there with the same thoughts/ideas. The way I raised my boys and decisions I made were kept quite private. I didn’t want to have to defend my choices. I just did what I thought was right and what fit for our family.

    I do have an opinion about what I think is best, but so do other folks. I hope I’m never judgemental. I usually don’t offer advice unless someone asks. And I always use the disclaimer: I have raised 5 children and STILL don’t know what I’m doing.

    Reply
  5. Felipe

    My friend mentioned this term to me and I was curious on what it entails. Thank you that was great learning experience for me.

    Reply
  6. Ashley

    I want to say I appreciate your balanced approach to this subject. I didn’t know what a crunchy mom was until today and when I saw the term it was all negative. It’s sad and disappointing that as a culture we always feel the need to bash other people. We can have differing opinions and there are always 2 sides. I would say I’m a scrunchy mom.

    Reply
  7. Christine

    Yes! What a great post, such kind and wise words. 💗

    Reply
  8. Kat

    I found this post because i was like wtf is a crunchy mama .
    First , I never read blogs, because they’re annoying but I read this and it was well written, honestly , and beautiful. The last 2 paragraphs were great. Proud #scrunchymama here too!!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      It’s funny, this was one of my first ever blog posts years ago and for whatever reason it’s trending again now. There must be another trending article on crunchy moms that’s got people Googling the term and finding mine!

      Reply
  9. Julia

    Huh. Everyday I learned something new. I’m not a mom (yet) but I think my mom was a scrunchy mama. And her name is Anna too! Lol

    Reply
  10. Marilyn

    Ha! I love this: I’m a scrunchy mom too! It’s horrible how we too often belittle others, If not in words then in our thoughts.

    Reply
    • Sammy Jo

      I love this post! I love the inclusiveness.

      I found this article because I kept seeing the hashtag #crunchymom. Thanks to your post I get it. Come to find out one of my best mom friends is more than likely a proud crunchy mom. I’d consider myself scrunchy, for sure. Just gotta keep this babe alive and happy.

      We’re truly all just trying to do what we think is best. No one should be shamed for that ❤️

      Reply
      • Anna Sakawsky

        Absolutely! At the end of the day, we all just want what’s best for our babies:)

        Reply
  11. Carol Baker

    You are one smart cookie. I was a “scrunch mom” in the early ’70s. Gave birth on hospitals, breastfed exclusively, co-slept, and was rigorous about vaccinations.
    All we can do, is the best we can. My children are in their 40s now, and did the same. They’re all 3 veterans, and parents, and some are grandparents, too-all doing their best.
    Nice work!

    Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

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Doctors are not gods and as mothers we do not co-parent with the government!!!

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(Special thanks to fellow 🇨🇦 homesteader @meggarlandd for inspiring me & giving me the courage to post this:)
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What would you do if the grid went down?

Imagine not just the lights going out, but all power, all digital communication and information. Would you be prepared?

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The other day when I had a few minutes to spare, I was out in the garden doing a little work when my neighbour said hi over the fence.

I lamented to her about how busy we’ve been and how hard it’s been to keep on top of this year. Very sincerely, she replied “wait until you have another one,” referring to our baby on the way.

“You’ll be moving back to the suburbs so quick, mark my words,” she said.

Now, I don’t for a second think there was any ill intent behind her statement, but still, it took me aback.

“We’ll never move back to the city or the suburbs,” I replied with a laugh. “This may be hard work but we love it.”

She then repeated her statement and followed it up with “just you wait and see.”

I decided not to continue the back and forth. After all, I told myself, it doesn’t matter if she or anyone else knows what’s truly in your heart. It doesn’t matter if she understands that there’s no amount of difficulty that would make me run back to the suburbs and leave this life behind. In fact, our dream is to upgrade to a bigger property someday where we can grow an even bigger garden and add more livestock to our homestead!

Likewise, I visited the city last weekend for a family event and as always, I had at least a couple people ask me “so when are you moving back to the city?”

Seven years later, and still we have friends and family members who think this is just a phase we’re going through, and eventually we’ll come to our senses and move back.

I used to get offended by these questions because I felt unseen; I felt like nobody took this life that I’m so passionate about seriously, and thought it was “cute” that I was “playing farmer” for a bit, but eventually I had to grow up and become part of the “real world” once again.

Now I just smile and reply “never:)”

Can you relate? How do you (politely) respond when someone questions your lifestyle choices or implies that you’ll eventually come to your senses and come back to “reality”?

Let me know below 👇
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The fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine just dropped!

In this issue you’ll find:

• Preparedness tips, tricks and advice to help you be ready for anything on the homestead (and in life!)
•The ultimate guide to growing garlic at home and it as both food and medicine
• Drool-worthy recipes that feature garlic as the star!
• Expert advice from A Farmgirl in the Making’s Ann Accetta-Scott on what to look for (and look out for) when buying or selling a homestead property
• Advice on how to learn and grow from perceived homesteading “failures”

And more!!!

Go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com or click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or login to the library and read the latest issue if you’re already subscribed!
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